The state of Nevada has officially approved the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for the 2016 ballot.
The Marijuana Policy Project and its local affiliate the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in about 200,000 signatures on Nov. 12, seeking the 100,000 valid signatures needed to get the initiative on the ballot. Secretary of State Ross Miller’s office verified that 138,453 signatures were validated, exceeding the required amount by more than a third.
“The voters in Nevada clearly want a new approach to regulating marijuana,” said Joe Brezny, head of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association, in a statement. “They see that taxing and regulating marijuana makes more sense than the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”
The proposal will now head to state legislature, which has the first forty days of its January session to approve it. If the legislature votes the proposal down or refuses to act, the measure will appear on the 2016 ballot. This is the most likely scenario as the Nevada state legislature is Republican in majority, and Democrats are traditionally more likely to support the measure.
If passed, the initiative would make private possession of up to one ounce of recreational marijuana legal for adults 21 and over, and Nevada would join the ranks of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. leading the charge to national legalization.